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Photo Trip Report: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

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The Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives is billed as the “largest exhibition ever curated by the Walt Disney Archives” and it certainly lives up to that description. The exhibit is 12,000 square feet and is located at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Vally, California (a little over an hour north of Disneyland). The items on display are from all aspects of Disney’s business including movies, music, theme parks, and even several items from Marvel movies. The cost to enter the Reagan Library is $21 per a person, or $19 if you have a valid D23 membership. It is currently scheduled to end on April 30, 2013, but D23 has announced the entire exhibit will present at the 2013 D23 Expo in Anaheim. More information can be found on D23’s website. Below are pictures of just a small sample of the hundreds of items on display.

Disneyland’s first ticket. Sold to Walt’s brother Roy O. Disney.

The exhibit has many interesting smaller items like this, the text for the entry tunnel plaque at Disneyland. Notice the corrections written on the paper by Walt himself.

The original model of the Nautilus submarine used in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Julie Andrew’s screen used costume from Mary Poppins.

Walt Disney’s “formal” office. His “working” office is on display in One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Several items from Disney’s recent movies like 101 Dalmations, and Alice in Wonderland are on display. There is also a large section dedicated to Tron and Tron Legacy.

Several costumes and props from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise are on display. Including this large model of the Black Pearl used during filming.

Marvel has a small section of the exhibit featuring props and costumes from Avengers, Captain America, and Iron Man.

One of the most impressive items on display, the Maleficent dragon head (nicknamed “Bucky” by Disneyland castmembers) used in Disneyland’s Fantasmic before it was replaced by its current animatronic dragon.

This pirate was used in the spot currently occupied by one of the Jack Sparrow animatronics on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

The hitchhiking ghosts and tomb stones that were removed from Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion.

This bride was also used in Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion. It was used from the mid 1990s until the current bride was installed in the early 2000s.

One of the original Captain Rex robots from the original Star Tours.

This impressive exhibit includes every single bust used during the design process of the Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom.

These maquettes were used during the development of various Disney animated feature films.

The final room of the exhibit features many personal Disney items owned by president Reagan, including this mouse ear hat.

Tickets to the D23 exhibit also includes admission to the rest of the Reagan Library. The most impressive item is President Reagan’s actual Air Force One. You can walk through the entire plane but unfortunately no photos are aloud inside.

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Guy Selga Jr.

Disneyland writer for and co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Also a Disneyland local and appreciator of Disney theme park history. Twitter and Instagram: @guyselga

4 thoughts on “Photo Trip Report: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

  • I hope there weren’t any unused days on Roy’s ticket. They’d probably be expired by now.

  • Are there crossovers between Disney and Reagan?
    For example, Ronald Reagan was the television host at the opening of Disneyland. This video footage plays on the loop that they play at 50’s prime time cafe.

    It’s always pretty interesting to see historical figures in roles before they were truly historical.

    • There are several stations that have videos looping about various the Reagan and Disney relationship. One of them talks about Walt and Reagan’s relationship, another showing Reagan’s second inauguration, which took place in Epcot. There is also a display of many Disney items owned by Nancy and Ronald Reagan.


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